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Looking for help planning our trip to Ireland

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Looking for help planning our trip to Ireland


My friend and I are going to Ireland this month and are looking for some advise. We fly in and out of Dublin coming from Las Vegas. We arrive Oct 27th in the morning and leave Nov 1st in the morning. It's not much time, so we're hoping to maximize how much we get to see and do. We are considering renting a car for 2 or 3 days and leaving Dublin to explore Ireland a bit. I'm thinking spend the 27th & 28th in Dublin, then rent the car on the 29th and return to Dublin the 31st.

My questions are, if we rented a car on the morning of the 29th and returned it early evening the 31st, how far could we go and how much could we see? We are both Photographers and are looking for some great places to take pictures... Castles, Rolling hills, Beautiful cliffs.. etc. We would also like to take in some local culture as well and enjoy a pint in some great pubs.

With this kind of a schedule where would you guys suggest we go to get the best out of our short trip? Also, would you suggest any different itinerary for us to go by knowing our travel restrictions? How about in and around Dublin? is 2 days enough or too much?

Also, I know it gets dark a early at the end of October, but what about the weather and rain? should we expect to have any issues driving the countryside during Octobers normal weather?


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1. Re: Looking for help planning our trip to Ireland

I'm sure you'll get advice ranging from "spend all 5 nights in Dublin" to the other extreme of spending each night in a new location (which I will suggest).

So it depends on how long you like to linger in one area, versus how you feel about missing out on other sites. Opinions will also vary depending on whether one likes to "stay rested" or "always be on the go". I'm the latter.

I tell you that because personal preference taints an opinion. Now you know where I am coming from.

My trip was similar to yours - I was in at Dublin and out from Belfast - 6 nights. I loved every minute of it. We first did a day-trip by tour bus out and back from Dublin to Limerick, Blarney Castle, and the area. It was awesome to hear the history, but I regreted not "being out among the people" - fixing my own B&B reservations, buying my own fuel, talking to those I met. Contrast that with the bus tour, where the only Irishman was the driver, and no opportunity to associate with the natives. A bus filled with eastern europeans yammering on their own tongue is not why I went to Ireland. So we rented a car the next day. My 2nd trip to Ireland was only for 2 nights - spent in the south/Dingle penninsula.

If I ever get the chance to go back, I might consider more time in one spot. But for a first-time trip, I don't regret my rapid tour of the country. A lot of driving - but it doesn't feel like you are rushing from one place to another when you are spending hours in the car. It goes quite slowly (in a good way).

That said - my suggestion: Spend the first and last night in Dublin. Gives you the day to rest up and see the city, and the last night to prepare to leave. Days two - five, get your rental car and head out!

It is a short and easy drive from Dublin to the west coast (2-4 hours) where you can choose from Galway, or down to Shannon - or both. You then might have to then choose between the north (which I did on my first trip) to see rugged Donegal and Giants Causeway areas - or the south (my 2nd trip) to see the Ring of Kerry, or Dingle Penninsula. Both are incredible, and you cannot go wrong.

Map the driving time, and decide if the road hours are worth it to you. Along the way, you will pass hundreds of quaint towns, incredible views, castles, cliffs, fens, bogs, rivers, and more than enough pubs - so don't worry about any of that. If you like to drive, stop where and when you want, then this is for you.

Couple of pointers:

- Make sure you get a sat-nav in your vehicle.

- google Donegal, Giants Causeway, Ring of Kerry, Dingle, and see which appeals more (also southwest coast, which I didn't see). All are great

- I liked the B&Bs better than the hotels. Nicer, in general, and better priced since you get breakfast.

- Since it gets dark early, leave early in the morning each day - and when you get to your B&B you'll have the evening to see the town/city and pubs.

- You shouldn't have any trouble finding vacancies. I booked many just hours before (I had an ipad w/internet access - just buy a sim card there, or use the wifi at the hotel each night) since I was never sure just how far I'd get that day. If you don't have internet, as was the case for me on my first trip, just print out a list of b&bs in each town you plan to pass through that evening.

The weather? I was there in April 2009 and August 2012. You cannot predict what it will be like - for me it was just as cold, and more rainy, in August. Temps in the mid-60s. But I like the rain and cool temps, so it was great. Coming from Vegas, you may have a different experience :). Just bring rain gear, and warm gloves and hats - I was caught on a hike to the Donegal coast when it began to rain, and nearly froze my ears and hands. The sea can be quite violent, and most of the moisture came from blowing saltwater.

Whatever you do - you'll love it. I'd go back in a heartbeat.


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2. Re: Looking for help planning our trip to Ireland

Thanks for all the excellent information! I am much like you in that I am all about being on the go when I am traveling. I like to see as much as possible while I am visiting.

So, let me run this by you. Based on the info you gave, do you think this itinerary is a little too ambitious or does it sound possible?

27th - Arrive and spend the day exploring Dublin

28th - Rent a car in the morning and visit Shannon & Limerick. Then drive to Killarney in the evening to stay the night. Total Google drive time.. estimated 4.5 Hrs

29th - Drive the ring of Kerry and enjoy the sights then head to Cork for the night. Total Google drive time.. estimated 4 Hrs

30th - Visit Blarney castle & Cork, Head to Kilkenny for the night Total Google drive time.. estimated 2 Hrs

31st - Spend the morning in Kilkenny then head back to Dublin to return car before 5pm. Total Google drive time.. estimated 1.5Hrs

1st - Leave Dublin in the morning

This is definitely a lot of driving which doesn't bother me as long as it'll leave us time to enjoy the sights and tour a couple castles. Is there anything in that list that you would suggest removing to give us a better experience?

Thanks for all your help!


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3. Re: Looking for help planning our trip to Ireland

Your trip is doable as planned but I'm not sure that the inclusion of Shannon on the way from Dublin to Killarney is worth the effort. Shannon is an airport about 15 miles from Limerick and the only tourist must-see in the area is Bunratty Castle. Bunratty is something of a tourist honeypot as it holds tourist "medieval" banquets and is the location of a folk village bit I'm not convinced that it's worth the detour.

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4. Re: Looking for help planning our trip to Ireland

When you come to Ireland you will quickly realise the climatic difference which you may not be accustomed too, together with the short daylight hours as we are entering into winter time. You may feel adventurous, but I would suggest to you factor in stop times and trying to reach your accomodation stops in daylight hours - before 5pm - you might therefore be better to stay with the east coast rather than trying to go further afield.

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5. Re: Looking for help planning our trip to Ireland

To drive the ring of Kerry and then on to Cork is going to take a lot more than four hours.

Fredericksburg, Va
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6. Re: Looking for help planning our trip to Ireland

Hello. Why not make your life easy and just focus on either County Kilkenny or County Meath, both close to Dublin? Kilkenny is a great town with the castle, walking tour of town, and sites nearby: Kells Priory, Jerpoint Abbey, and the Rock of Cashel. County Meath is also very cool, with Trim castle, the Battle of the Boyne battlefield, and Newgrange, Knowth, and Dowth to mention just a few. As far as pubs are concerned, great pubs are in every place you go in Ireland, so you won't go thirsty. Hope this helps, and enjoy.

Whitney, Texas
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7. Re: Looking for help planning our trip to Ireland

having been to ireland numerous times i can tell you that although the idea of "being on the move" all the time makes your heart sing, your plans will make your bum cry.....

day 1 is more like 5-1/2 hours of just driving and that's if conditions are perfect....like no traffic jams, road works, farm equipment, sheep with a death wish, or the dreaded getting lost, etc.....

fuchsia is right about driving the ring of kerry and then driving to cork, much more than four hours of just driving time...that will take the better part of the day.....

if you just want to be able to say you were in those places, go for it, but you aren't leaving any time to "see" much...most folks on here will tell you that in ireland, less is more....please rethink your plan so you can stop and sit in a local pub, visit with the wonderful people, or just have time to soak up where you are at any given time....

also keep in mind you'll only have about 9.5 hours of daylight....

8. Re: Looking for help planning our trip to Ireland

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